Rent-A-Girlfriend first brought the Japanese business idea of “renting” a person to many people in the West. The major Japanese paper The Mainichi recently did a whole article about 37-year-old Tokyoite Shoji Morimoto who rents himself to “eat and drink, and give simple feedback, but do nothing more,” and has been quite successful at it.
“I myself don’t like to be cheered on by others. I get upset when people simply tell me to keep on trying. When someone is trying to do something, I think the best thing to do is to help lower the bar for them by staying at their side,” Morimoto explained.
Lowering the bar or not, as desperate as people are for company during COVID, his renters are very grateful for him.
“I’m glad I was able to take a walk with someone while keeping a comfortable distance, where we didn’t have to talk but could if we wanted to,” one renter remarked.
And even before COVID, when people were lonely, he was someone who could be nearby. He’s been along for hospital visits, first dates and divorces.
“I’m not a friend or an acquaintance,” Morimoto said. “I’m free of the bothersome things that accompany relationships, but can ease people’s sense of loneliness. Maybe it’s something like that for me.”
Source: The Mainichi
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.